Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Burnt Ice Burnt Ice
by Steve Wheeler

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Burnt Ice is the first book by Steve Wheeler, and is a view of human life in the distant future following the forced abandonment of Earth.

With a summary like that one could expect Burnt Ice to be a world of grim and gritty monochrome life with the human collective grieving the loss of the home world and drear existence scraping a life on others’ hand-me-downs and unwanted leavings. But no! Burnt Ice is an upbeat view of expediency and making do creating a better life, of conquering adversity – all in brilliant Technicolor.

Burnt Ice tells the story of a unit of army engineers as they are on hand to experience alien first contact and the changes that contact unleashes in their lives. Burnt Ice is the opening volume in a larger saga so many threads were left hanging by the end of the book, not least what happened to those aliens that left. That is bound to be a sequel of consequence indeed.

Burnt Ice is a fast moving story told in round from the perspectives of the characters in the engineering unit. If I have a request of the author it be that he better separate those viewpoint shifts. There were a couple of times when I had to reread a section as the perspective baton was passed from one character to another without that change being clearly signalled. Disconcerting, although not fatal perhaps a seatbelt installed ready for book two.

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